Send Cheer: A Cancer Support Knitting + Crochet Drive

Send Cheer

Hello, Heather here. Cancer is something that unfortunately touches all of us in one way or another. For the last four and a half years my mom has been fighting metastatic breast cancer and sadly this year she got news that it spread to her lung and liver.

My mom's body is tired but she is a fighter. Yesterday she began her third round of chemotherapy and the doctors expect that she'll lose her hair again. 

All this news right in the middle of the holiday season got me thinking that my mom is not alone in getting a diagnosis this time of year. There are many, many people dealing with cancer.

How can we as knitters and crocheters help people in this type of situation? A patient's health and treatment plan is between them and their doctors which can often make the rest of us feel helpless, but we're not. We can provide cheer and encouragement through our hand-craft. A hat or shawl may be just the thing to brighten a person's day!

That's why I'm asking you to join me in making a hat, shawl or lap blanket as token of support to a cancer patient this holiday season. We will be supporting the John and Dorothy Morgan Cancer Center at Lehigh Valley Hospital - Cedar Crest in Allentown, PA. Donations sent to Make Give Repeat will be sent on to their facility and given to the patients there as they come in each day for treatments. If you have a cancer center near you or even a patient that you would like to support, please do so!

What to make:

As the owner of Ewe Ewe Yarns I am making all of the hat, shawl and blanket patterns 50% off through the end of December 2016. Use code: SENDCHEER on eweewe.com or Ravelry to download the pattern of your choice to use for this charity drive. You can also browse our free patterns!

Some Hat Patterns:

Clockwise From Top Left: Criss Cross Cable Hat (Ravelry | Ewe Ewe), Pinapple Expressions (Ravelry | Ewe Ewe), Ripple Effect (Ravelry | Ewe Ewe), Sand & Sea Hat (Ravelry | Ewe Ewe)

Some Shawl Patterns:

Clockwise From Top Left: Groove Cruise (Ravelry | Ewe Ewe), Mint Julep (Ravelry | Ewe Ewe), Radiant Wrap (Ravelry | Ewe Ewe), Saturday Stripes (Ravelry | Ewe Ewe)

What yarn to use:

Easy care yarns are always best when donating knitted garments. NobleKnits.com is generously offering 15% OFF these easy-care yarns through 12/31/16 plus they have free shipping in the US! Use code: SENDCHEER.

Sock + Sport weight yarns: Wisdom Allegro Wool Free Sock Yarn; Ewe Ewe Yarns Ewe So Sporty superwash.

Worsted weight yarns: Aalta Core wool/acrylic; Plymouth Baby Beenz acrylic, Coffee Beenz wool/acrylic, Jelli Beenz wool/acrylic; Ewe Ewe Wooly Worsted merino superwash.

Bulky weight yarn: Ewe Ewe Baa Baa Bulky merino superwash.

Visit NobleKnits.com and use code: SENDCHEER.

How to donate:

Download and print this hang tag and attach one to each garment you plan to send. Be sure to fill out your name and email address (in case the recipient would like to send a thank you!) along with circling the garment care instructions and fiber content.

Download the Send Cheer hang tag PDF file >

Where to send: 

Make Give Repeat -- Robyn Devine, Omaha. Robyn just moved, and is in the process of setting up a new PO BOX - she will share the address for sending knitted and crochet items on Tuesday (or Wednesday)!!

Crochet Hats On Repeat For Refugee Babes

beanies for babes, made on repeat.

beanies for babes, made on repeat.

Robyn here!

One statistic that makes me super sad? Hundreds of babies are born every month in refugee camps. Almost 100 alone in the biggest refugee camp in France. Babies born to families who were fleeing terror, are now being born into uncertain conditions.

I remember when I was super pregnant with both my babes - the last thing I wanted to do was travel, much less travel long distances through perilous conditions, not knowing where I'd be giving birth. NO THANKS. So for these women to leave everything, to take such a journey? Their lives must have been un-imaginable.

And so, as part of my holiday hat-making, I have been crocheting baby hats on repeat, using my leftover balls of wool. The pattern I've been using most often? The Basic Beanie, from Sweet Kiwi Crochet. (ravelry | etsy)

Two things to know about this pattern. One, it costs $5. That's a price that may turn away some crocheters, but I'm here to tell you it's worth EVERY PENNY. I use this hat all year long. It's got sizes from newborns through adults, directions for adding ear flaps or not, and tutorials for stripes, ties, and poms! Did I mention I've more than gotten my money's worth out of it?!

Second, I alter it a bit for true newborn hats. The smallest size in the pattern is for 0-6 months, so I do 9 instead of 10 for the first row, which gives me fewer increases and a more true newborn size. When made this way, the hat will fit for the first 6-8 weeks on the babes I know here in America, which makes them perfect for super tiny newborn heads all over the world.

These hats are tiny, for sure. They will not fit for an extended period of time, it's true.  But the bigger sizes don't always work on true newborns, and babes need so much extra warmth those first precious few days and weeks. So while I also donate bigger hats, I love to toss as many super tiny newborn hats into every package I send off to refugees.

Where do I send these hats? To the Salaam Cultural Museum, an organization in Seattle that regularly sends medical aide to refugee camps. There's a huge group of knitters and crocheters on Ravelry who send items to them regularly, and I trust my fellow knitters with just about everything, so I send things their way as well!

Holiday Make-Along: Preemie And Baby Hats

Most of us can agree that babies are all precious and amazing, and come into the world with no baggage but that which we place on them.

So let's love on some babies this holiday season! There's a lot of charities that accept baby hats - you can donate to most local hospitals, so long as your yarn is acrylic. You can also donate to Salaam Cultural Museum, which will take the hats to the hundreds of babies being born in refugee camps every month.

Before I start bombarding you with charity options over the next few weeks, let's talk patterns, though!

Pictured above are some free knit favorites ... plus one sewing pattern!

TOP ROW:
Quick Knit Chevron Baby Hat, by Kayla Pins
Hello Preemie! Hat, by Heather Walpole
Rainbow Baby Hat, from Little Red Window

BOTTOM ROW:
DIY Baby Hat Sewing Pattern, from Coral & Co.
Simple Newborn Beanie, by Casey Braden
Tegan Baby Hat, from Love Knitting

What other patterns do you love using when you knit for babies? Share hat patterns for sure, but I'd love to hear about other patterns you love to use!

Bigger Than Just Us

pinssneedles.jpg

Robyn here!

This week has felt hard. No matter what your politics, it's easy to see how people around us are suffering, scared, and feel shaken lately. For many of us (Heather and I included), there is a feeling of dread at what is to come in the next few months and years. And with this dread, a feeling of urgency.

Lucky for us (and you!), we are knitters. We may not be the ones making policy, but we are the ones with two sticks and some string, and we can make a tangible difference!

Life has been hard these last fewmonths (the last year, really) for me, personally. Our little family has been going through a lot, and so I've hunkered down, pulled people close, and stepped back from so much ... this space included.

But now. Now I look at my son. At my daughter, with early intervention needs. At our potential loss of healthcare benefits (pre-existing conditions make that sort of thing scary). At all that the coming winter brings. And even though what I see for us is scary, I know that what others are facing is so much worse.

The weather in Nebraska has turned. It is cold, and there are people sleeping on the streets. People around the world are fleeing their homes, finding temporary shelter (maybe ...) in refugee camps. Afraid for their lives, their safety, their children. Thousands live on reservations in America, with substandard conditions. Babies are being born in hospitals around the globe into families with next to nothing. Parents are snuggling preemies in hospitals, scared out of their wits, unsure of what to do now.

The list goes on. A friend's son is going through chemo. A student's parents both just lost their jobs. There is a huge influx of homeless vets coming into our local VA outreach center.

It is overwhelming. It is breathtaking. And yet.

And yet.

We have some sticks, and we have some string. We can perform small miracles with these simple items, friends. We can weave love and hope and warmth together, and remind people that the world still has some good in it. We can be the light-bearers, the peace-bringers, the amplifiers of joy and strength in times of struggle and despair.

We Make. We Give. And We Repeat.

April: The Preemie Project

Hello! I'm Kayla Pins of Pins's Needles and this month I'm here to guest post about one of my favorite charities, The Preemie Project.

WHY THE PREEMIE PROJECT?

The Preemie Project seeks to provide comfort and support to critically ill infants and their families in Newborn Intensive Care Units in Iowa. They are well known for their adorable hats they donate to NICUs. I love contributing to their annual events from the CyHawk challenge (outfitting Iowa babies for our big college rivalry football game) to Boo in the NICU (sweet little Halloween-themed hats).

Another important but harder to talk about program of TPP is to bring solace to families who are grieving a loss. Through their bereavement program they provide gowns, sleepers, blankets, hats, booties, miscarriage blankets, and memento bracelets to Iowa hospitals.

WHY BEREAVEMENT LAYETTES?

I had the good fortune to meet Linda, leader of The Preemie Project, last fall at a knit in for Click for Babies. While we clicked away on our purple hats I shared with Linda about my charity marathon project and asked how I could best support her organization. My heart ached as she told me about their bereavement program.

I kept busy through the winter with various woolly cold-weather projects, but April is the perfect month to turn my attention to ongoing bereavement needs of TPP.  Linda says she can never have enough sleepers and loves this pattern by Marcia Williams. The pattern is very simple and includes the wide variety of sizes needed as well as hats and booties. The fine gauge and soft yarn used makes it the perfect project as the weather warms up.

THE KNIT-ALONG DETAILS

For this month's knit along we'll be focusing on the Bereavement Program of The Preemie Project. You may choose to make sets of sleepers, hats, and booties, or just focus on one item. You'll be surprised how many tiny booties can come from your scrap yarn!

Sleepers are needed in all sizes and can be in very pale colors including pink, blue, and green. Yellow can be tricky, so be sure to make it very pale. It is important to knit these in solid colors with no stripes or loud colors, as they will be given to families on a very somber occasion. You may make hats and booties to match the sleepers, but white is best when making hats and booties alone because it matches so well.

The yarn must be a fine sport or DK gauge and very soft acrylic because of the baby's very delicate skin. The pattern suggests Bernat Softee Baby. I like to use I Love This Yarn Sport. The Preemie Project has an excellent yarn guide for more suggestions.

Finished donations can be sent to:
The Preemie Project
2607 Flagstone Court
Coralville, IA 52241

There will be knit-along progress all month on Instagram (@makegiverepeat)! Tag your finished projects #makegiverepeat and you may be featured on the feed!

You can also follow The Preemie Project on Ravelry!


This is a guest post, brought to you by a valued member of our MGR community. If you have an idea for one of our monthly craft-alongs, please e-mail us and let us know! We wouldn't be able to keep this whole project up without you, and we want to be sure we're crafting for the charities you're passionate about!

March: Gallatin Shawls For Pine Ridge Reservation

March has started already, but seeing as I've just finished knitting the Gallatin Scarf and already want to cast on another one, it seems like the perfect knit-along for the month!

WHY THE GALLATIN SCARF?

The Gallatin Scarf, designed by Kris Basta, is perfect for charity makers for many reasons. First, it's free - which we all know is ideal when knitting items you're going to give away!

But more than that, this scarf is perfect for almost every type of charity knitter! Knit with worsted weight yarn on US size 10.5 needles (6.5mm), this is a quick knit that uses less than 200 yards of yarnfrom start to finish.

My favorite part of the Gallatin Scarf? You can make it with just about any fiber yarn you choose! I made my first one (pictured above) in acrylic, but you can make this scarf in wool, and even cotton!

WHY THE PINE RIDGE RESERVATION?

The Pine Ridge Reservation, located in South Dakota, is one of the poorest places in America. With a 90% unemployment rate, people die incredibly young, and live their short lives in crazy terrible conditions. It makes me sad and angry that people live like this anywhere, but that it happens so close to home is especially hard to fathom.

There's a group on Ravelry that constantly donates items for the people living on the reservation, and they request items of all types, sizes, and for a variety of needs. Items can be made from ANY FIBER YOU CHOOSE, so long as you tag your items when you send them!

THE KNIT-ALONG DETAILS

This month, we'll be focusing our efforts on the on-going women's shelter project for the reservation. In an area of extreme poverty and addiction, the women in the shelter have seenmore than I can imagine. By making a scarf in your choice of fibers, you are reminding these ladies that they are seen, they have value, they are loved.

Please knit your scarves with stash yarn, in any fiber you choose. Remember to tag them (we've got a MGR specific tag you can use if you want!) so folks know what they're made of, and then check with the Ravelry group for the shipping address!

And don't forget to follow along all month on Instagram (@makegiverepeat) as we make shawls to send! If you tag yours #makegiverepeat, they might even get featured on our feed!

January: Vests For Refugee Children

Robyn here!

Winter has arrived in the Northern Hemisphere, and cold is settling in, even on the shores of Greece in the Mediterranean. According to my friend Alison, the temperatures feel freezing as the volunteers stand at the edge of the water pulling refugees off boats, and children are being hauled to the medical tents freezing to death thanks to a combination of wind, being soaked through their clothes from the waves, and exhaustion from their travels.

One of the easiest ways to provide some extra warmth is with vests made from 100% wool, and that's where the Mini Thermal Vest pattern comes in. I shared a bit about this at the end of last year, but vests are uniquely perfect for refugees, especially when made in wool - they keep the body's main organs warm by covering the trunk of a person, all while keeping extremities free of the bulk of sweaters and blankets and such. This means vests can be layered over or under other long sleeved clothing and provide one extra layer of warmth, and when made with wool there's the added advantage of some amount of protection from the weather.

And so, for January, Heather and I will be knitting Mini Thermal Vests with our wool stash. The pattern is written to create different sizes based on the yarn weight and needle you use, and the waffle pattern means your vest will almost certainly fit a refugee child perfectly. Made long and skinny, these vests can keep babies through toddlers and younger children warm all winter long as they hunker down in refugee camps or travel on after landing in Greece, hoping to find safety and freedom from fighting.

As you make your vests, send them on to Salaam Cultural Museum, which is a well-known and much-respected organization doing refugee work, and which has collection addresses both in the US and in London!


Salaam Cultural Museum
℅ Rita
3806 Whitman Ave N
Seattle. WA 98103

Knit for Peace (Refugee Appeal)
Radius Works
Back Lane
London
NW3 1HL

I'll be back early next week with my first vest, either in progress or ready to share, and some of the hints I may come up with as I've been knitting! Happy new year, and happy knitting!